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A polyptych (from the Greek polu- "many" + ptychē "fold") generally refers to a painting (usually panel painting) which is divided into multiple sections, or panels. (The related terms "diptych" and "triptych" describe a two-part and three-part work of art, respectively. The terms "tetraptych" (4 parts), "pentaptych" (5), "hexaptych" (6), "heptaptych" (7), and "octaptych" (8) are sometimes used.)

"Polyptych" may also refer collectively to all multi-panel paintings. In most works there is a larger central panel called the "main panel", and the other panels are called "side-panels" or "wings". Sometimes, as at Ghent or Isenheim, the hinged panels can be variously arranged to show different "views" or "openings."

Polyptychs were most common with early Renaissance painters, and the majority of polyptychs were designed to be altarpieces in churches and cathedrals. The form was also quite popular among ukiyo-e printmakers of Edo period Japan.


In other media

In comic books and comic strips, a polyptych is a strip, or even an entire comic page, in which the background forms a continuous image even though it may be divided into separate panels; a good example is The Perishers, which often uses polyptychs divided into three panels.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Polyptych" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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